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Dubnyk looks to lead Oilers to second straight win

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Devan Dubnyk will get the start in goal for the Edmonton Oilers when they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday at Rexall Place.

Dubnyk was instrumental in the Oilers' win against the Dallas Stars on Sunday, entering the game in relief of injured Ilya Bryzgalov and making 15 saves in a 3-2 shootout victory.

With Bryzgalov sidelined with a neck injury and concussion symptoms, Dubnyk will make his 19th start of the season for the Oilers, who are looking for a second consecutive win and sixth in their past eight games.

"It's good when you're playing well and the team doesn't have to be worrying about every single mistake ending up in your net and they can just go and play hockey," Dubnyk said. "You might have lapses in a game and things might not be going your way, but you have to find a way to make a big save. It's an important part of our job."

Dubnyk made two huge saves against the Stars to keep the Oilers within a goal.

Since the signing of Bryzgalov, Dubnyk has picked up his game and given the Oilers the type of goaltending they expected heading into the season.

"I think [Dubnyk] would admit that he was off early in the season," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "I think his game has been night and day. Now he's really confident in the net. Obviously [Bryzgalov] has given us a couple of good games too. But I think it coincides, too, that our guys have played better in front of him.

"There are times in games when you need a big save from your goalie and we got it from [Dubnyk] the other night, those two pad saves from in close; you need those kinds of saves from your goalie to keep things close. Your goaltender breeds confidence in your team and ignites your team with a big save. But I just feel with [Dubnyk] playing better, that has helped our team play better and given our team more confidence."

Bryzgalov was injured in the second period after being run into by Stars wing Ryan Garbutt. The Oilers called up Jason LaBarbera from their American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City to back up Dubnyk against the Coyotes.

"[Bryzgalov] took a wicked blow when Garbutt was driving the net," Eakins said. "That's something that is unfortunately going to happen when guys are trying to score goals. He's got the symptoms that go together with a concussion or whiplash, whichever way you want to put it.

"We always treat those as a concussion, even though we're not really sure if it is that. We'll treat is as so, just so that we're sensitive to the player's needs."

Eakins said he did not have a timeline on when Bryzgalov might return to the lineup.

"It might be two days, it might be two years, take your pick," he said.

LaBarbera was in goal the prior time the Oilers faced the Coyotes, losing 5-4 in Arizona on Oct. 26.

The Coyotes scored two power-play goals in the third period to overcome a one-goal deficit that afternoon.

"We have to be good tonight," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "We know Edmonton has been good as of late, they're on a roll, they've been feeling good. They went into Dallas, a tough building to win in, and they were able to get a win out of there.

"They're playing well and we're going to have to play well in order to have a chance."

The Coyotes have lost four of their past five. They were beaten 5-2, at home, by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

"There are some areas of our game that we're not going to survive if we continue to give up as many chances and give up as many shots as we have," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "The shots can be deceiving sometimes, but our team hasn't played as well defensively that we're going to need to play if we go into a real, hard playoff push in the spring. Those are things that we continue to address and are areas of our game that we have to improve."

Mike Smith will start in goal for the Coyotes.

Here's a look at the projected lineups:


Shane DoanMike RibeiroDavid Moss

Tim KennedyMartin HanzalRadim Vrbata

Rob KlinkhammerAntoine VermetteMikkel Boedker

Kyle ChipchuraJeff HalpernJordan Szwarz

Oliver Ekman-LarssonMichael Stone

Keith YandleConnor Murphy

David SchlemkoDerek Morris

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Paul Bissonnette, David Rundblad.

Injured: Zbynek Michalek (lower body), Lauri Korpikoski (upper body)


Taylor HallRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle

Ryan JonesSam GagnerAles Hemsky

Nail YakupovMark ArcobelloDavid Perron

Ryan SmythWill ActonJesse Joensuu

Andrew FerenceJeff Petry

Denis GrebeshkovJustin Schultz

Nick SchultzAnton Belov

Devan Dubnyk

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Luke Gazdic

Injured: Ilya Bryzgalov (neck), Philip Larsen (back), Boyd Gordon (upper body), Richard Bachman (groin), Tyler Pitlick (knee)

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